Kyler Edwards made seven 3-pointers as part of his 29 points, and No. 11 Houston held off several rallies by Tulsa for a 66-64 win on Saturday night.
Tulsa freshman guard Anthony Pritchard missed a game-tying layup with a second to play, and the Golden Hurricanes had another chance with 0.4 seconds remaining but Houston blocked Sam Griffin’s 3-point attempt.
Houston (15-2, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) also got 10 points from Reggie Chaney.
Tulsa (6-9, 0-4) was led by Jeriah Horne with 24 points, and 10 from Griffin.
Tulsa had stormed back from a 17-point halftime deficit to make it 50-49 with 11:03 left. Edwards then made a jumper with 10 minutes left and hit a 3-point with 7:45 left to give Houston a 57-52 cushion.
The Cougars went on to push the lead to 64-52, but Griffin made three 3-pointers in a span of 1:27 as Tulsa rallied to within 66-64 with 1:03 to play.
Horne popped in four 3-pointers in the first nine minutes of the second half, the final one cutting Houston’s lead to 50-49 after trailing 38-21 at the half.
Houston limited Tulsa to just 25% shooting in the first half and led comfortably after an early 15-2 run.
Tulsa stayed within striking distance until the Cougars closed the half on a 9-0 run in the final 1:24, capped by Ramon Walker’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. Tulsa’s Darrien Jackson jarred the ball loose as Walker started his shot, but Walker managed to get a grasp and fling it in from 24 feet.
Edwards did most of the early damage for the Cougars, making 5-of-8 3-pointers. Houston made 7 of 17 treys while Tulsa was just 1-for-11 in the first half, while Tulsa heated up in the second half, making 8 of 13 treys.
How clear cut is Houston’s advantage over the rest of the conference? In 21 team statistical categories tracked by the league, the Cougars are No. 1 in 12 and top three in four others. Tulsa leads the conference in free-throw percentage and is top three in two others.
Houston leads in scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense among others.
Houston: Hosts South Florida on Tuesday.
Tulsa: At Cincinnati on Thursday.